tv [untitled] June 8, 2012 10:30am-11:00am EDT
when hiring, how it helps the bottom line. well, the distribution of wealth, if they hire more people that are unemployed that would help with spending. and i know we're trying to reduce the tax consequences, but if they could somehow get a little more tax break and maybe less bonuses. it seems the government is enriching the government. if you work for the government, you seem to be in the safe zone. if you're on the out while i'm not trying to advocate more tax breaks, but i think that helps the person unemployed with the spending which will probably help the taxes. >> okay. thank you. let's check in with our facebook audience to see what some of them are saying about this
so-called fiscal cliff and what their concerns are about it. vince writes when are the democrats going to allow a budget instead of years-long funding of government via continuing resolutions. and james, bernanke is sweating big time. he may not get any of the $8 trillion he printed for the euro banks on the first go around. and abi writes are they out of their minds? we're in a debt crisis. are they sleeping on the job in they're hurting our nation big time. replace the people in washington if they can't do their job. americas, wake up. we're going to the deepest debt in our history. let's go back to telephone -- >> all of the washington journal available online. we'll take you live now over to the briefing room. president obama is going to be speaking shortly talking about the nation's economy. he also called on congress to pass the proposals he offered
>> white house reporters gathered to hear from president obama talking about the economy. this a day after the federal reserve chairman testifying on capitol hill on the state of the economy addressed his concern about the quote, fiscal cliff the nation faces. the country faces in the impending deadlines of the bush era tax cuts. and of course the appropriations bills that have to be passed by congress before the end of this fiscal year. and by the way, that testimony from the fed chair is available in our video library on c-span.org. [ indistinct conversations ]
events on his calendar today. meeting with the president of the philippines, president aquino and the two will hold a meeting in the oval office. president will also welcome the super bowl champion new york giants to the white house this afternoon. michelle obama and ann romney were on the campaign trail this week. tonight 8:00 eastern, c-span2 will show campaign stops by both. ann romney in miami on cuban-americans. and talking also about her horse riding hobby. that's coming up tonight at 8:00, c-span2.
>> a bit longer wait than we expected. president obama coming out shortly into the white house briefing room to talk, we expect, mainly about the economy. he could get other questions, however. it's reported he will take a couple of questions. meanwhile, secretary of state hillary clinton is meeting today with the former head of the u.n., former secretary general kofi annan who is holding talks at the state department. they're exploring ways to further pressure the syrian government to comply with the plan or find a way to stop the killing there. we will have those for you later. we have a camera covering that this morning. [ indistinct conversations ]
>> as you just saw, we got a two minute warning until the president comes out. we hope that's accurate. live coverage here from the white house. president obama coming out to the -- to the briefing room shortly. elsewhere today on capitol hill we are covering the u.s. house. they're in session this morning. they've been spending the last week or two on appropriations bills, spending bills for fiscal year 2013. and they will wrap up the week today. matter of fact, shortly they'll have their first series of votes on the 2013 bill for the legislative branch. they passed a couple this week. the senate is not in today, but
when they return next week, we expect to pick up debate on the farm bill. that should get underway on tuesday. on capitol hill this morning, the ways and means committee of the house is talking about the expiring tax provisions and looking ahead to expiring provisions as far as research and development credits, college tuition credits. that hearing is underway and we're covering it live on c-span2. >> hello, everybody. good morning. i just want to say a few words about the economy and then i will take some of your
questions. today we're fighting back from the deepest economic crisis since the great depression. after losing jobs for 25 months in a row, our businesses have now created jobs for 27 months in a row. 4.3 million new jobs in all. the fact is job growth in this recovery has been stronger than in the one following the last recession a decade ago. but the hole we have to fill is much deeper and the global aftershocks is much greater. that's why we have to keep pressing with actions that strengthen the economy. right now one concern is europe which faces a threat of renewed recession as countries deal with a financial crisis. obviously this matters to us because europe is our largest economic trading partner. if there's less demand for places like paris or madrid, it could mean less business for manufacturers in places like pittsburgh or milwaukee.
the good news is there is a path out of this challenge. these decisions are fundamentally in the hands of europe's leaders and fortunately they understand the seriousness of the situation and the urgent need to act. i've been in frequent contact with them over the past several weeks. and we've known there are specific steps they can take right now to prevent the situation there from getting worse. in the short-term, they've got to stabilize their financial system. and part of that is taking clear action as soon as possible to inject capital into weak banks. just as important, leaders can lay out a framework and a vision for a stronger eurozone including deeper collaboration on budgets and banking policy. getting there is going to take some time, but showing the political commitment to share the benefits and responsibilities of an integrated europe will be a strong step. with respect to greece which has important elections next weekend, we've said that it is
in everybody's interest for greece to remain in the eurozone while respecting its commitments to reform. we recognize the sacrifices the great people have made. and european leaders understand the need to provide support if the greek people choose to remain in the eurozone. the greek people also need to realize that their hardships will likely be worse if they choose to exit from the eurozone. over the longer term even as european countries with large debt burdens carry out necessary fiscal reforms, they've also got to promote job creation as some countries have discovered, it's harder to rein in deficits and debt. leaders like merkel and hollande have put in beside plans.
these solutions are hard, but there are solutions. the decisions required are tough, but europe has the capacity to make them. and they have america's support. their success is good for us and the sooner that they act and the more decisive their actions, the sooner the people and markets will regain some confidence and the cheaper the costs of cleanup will be down the road. in the meantime, given the signs of weakness in the world economy, not just in europe but also some softening in asia, it's critical we take the actions we can to strengthen the american economy right now. last september i sent congress a detailed jobs plan full of the bipartisan ideas that would put more americans back to work. it had broad support from the american people, it was fully paid for. if congress had passed it in full, we'd be on track to have a million more americans working this year.
the unemployment rate would be lower. our economy would be stronger. of course congress refused to pass this jobs plan in full. they did act on a few parts of the bill, most significantly the payroll tax cut that's putting more money in every working person's paycheck right now. and i appreciate them taking that action, but they left most of the jobs plan just sitting there. and in light of the head winds that we're facing right now, i urge them to reconsider. because there are steps we can take right now to put more people back to work. they're not just my ideas. they're not just democratic ideas. they're ideas that independent, nonpartisan economists believe would make a difference in our economy. keep in mind that the private sector has been hiring at a solid pace. but one of the biggest weaknesses has been state and local governments which have laid off 450,000 americans. these are teachers and cops and
firefighters. congress should pass a bill putting them back to work right now. giving help to the states so that those layoffs are not occurring. in addition, since the housing bubble burst, we've got more than a million construction workers out of work. there's nothing fiscally responsible about waiting to fix your roof until it caves in. we've got a lot of deferred the maintenance in this country. we could be putting a lot of people back to work rebuilding our roads, our bridges, some of our schools. there's work to be done. there are workers to do it. let's put them back to work right now. the housing market is stabilizing and beginning to come back in many parts of the country, but there are still millions of responsible homeowners who have done everything right but still struggle to make ends meet. so as i talked about just a few weeks ago, let's pass a bill that gives them a chance to save an average of $3,000 a year by refinancing their mortgage and taking advantage of these
historically low rates. that's something we can do right now. instead of just talking a good game about job creators, congress should give the small business owners that create most of the new jobs in america a tax break for hiring more workers. these are ideas that, again, have gotten strong validation from independent, nonpartisan economists. it would make a difference in our economy and there's no excuse for not passing these ideas. we know they can work. now, if congress decides despite all that they aren't going to do anything about this simply because it's an election year, then they should explain to the american people why. there's going to be plenty of time to debate our respective plans for the future. that's a debate i'm eager to have, but right now people in this town should be focused on doing everything we can to keep our recovery going and keeping our country strong. and that requires some action on
the part of congress. so i would urge them to take another look at some of the ideas that have been put forward. with that, i'm going to take a couple of questions. i'm going to start with karen who is with reuters but as we all know is about to go get a fancy job with the national journal. we're very proud of her. so congratulations to you, karen. you get the first crack at it. >> thank you very much, mr. president. could you tell the american people what role the united states is playing in the european debt crisis? and also do you think european leaders have a handle on what's needed to stem the crisis? and finally, you talked about a number of ideas you already put forth to shield the american economy. do you plan to give a speech or lay out additional ideas now that the crisis is really escalating? >> well, a couple of things. first of all, the situation in europe is not simply a debt crisis. you've got some countries like
greece that genuinely have spent more than they're bringing in. and they've got problems. there are other countries that actually were running a surplus and had fairly responsible fiscal policies but had weaknesses similar to what happened here with respect to their housing market or their real estate markets. that has weakened their financial system. there's a bunch of different systems going on in europe. it's not simply a debt crisis. what is true is the market's getting nervous and started making it more expensive for them to borrow. that then gets them on a downward spiral. we have been in constant contact with europe over the last -- european leaders over the last two years. and we have consulted with them both at the head of government and head of state level. i frequently speak to the
leaders not only at formal settings like the g8 but also on the telephone and via video conference. our economic teams have gone over there to consult. as i said in my opening remarks, the challenges they face are solvable. right now their focus has to be on strengthening their overall banking system much in the same way that we did back in 2009. and 2010. making a series of decisive actions that give people confidence that the banking system is solid, capital requirements are being met, that various stresses that may be out there can be absorbed by the system. and i think the european leaders are in discussions about that and they're moving in the right direction. in addition, they're going to
have to look at how do they achieve growth at the same time as they're carrying out structural reforms that may tak fully accomplish. so countries like spain and italy, for example, have embarked on some smart, structural reforms that everybody thinks are necessary, everything from tax collection to labor markets, to a whole host of different issues. but they've got to have the time and the space for those steps to succeed. and if they are just cutting and cutting and cutting and their unemployment rate is going up and up and up and people are pulling back further from spending money because they're feeling a lot of pressure, ironically, that can actually make it harder for them to carry out some of these reforms over the long term. so i think there's discussion now about, in addition to sensible ways to deal with
death, government finances, there's a parallel discussion that's taken place among european leaders to figure out how do we also encourage growth and show some flexibility to allow some of these reforms to really take root. now, keep in mind that this obviously can have a potential impact on us because europe's our largest trading partner. the good news is, is that a lot of the work we did back in 2009 and 2010 have put our financial system on a much more solid footing. our insistence of increasing capital requirements for banks means that they can absorb some of the shocks that might come from across the atlantic. you know, folks in the financial sector have been monitoring this carefully, and i think are prepared for a range of contingencies, but even if we
weren't directly hit in the sense that our financial system still stays solid, if europe goes into a recession, that means we're selling fewer goods, fewer services, and that is going to have some impact on the pace of our recovery. so we want to do everything we can to make sure that we are supportive of what european leaders are talking about. ultimately, it is a decision they've got to make in terms of how they move forward towards more integration, how they move forward in terms of accommodating the needs for both reform and growth, and the most important thing i think we can do is make sure that we continue to have a strong, robust recovery. so the steps that i've outlined are the ones that are needed. we've got a couple of sectors in our economy that are still work. overall, the private sector has been doing a good job
creating -- creating jobs. we've seen record profits in the corporate sector. the big challenge we have in our economy right now is state and local government hiring has been going in the wrong direction. we've seen teacher layoffs, police officers, cops, firefighters being laid off. and the other sector that's been weak has been the construction industry. those two areas we've directly addressed with our jobs plan. the problem is that it requires congress to take action, and we're going to keep pushing them to see if they can move the that direction. okay? jack jackie. there she is. >> thank you, mr. president. i'd like to ask you abwhat a couple other people said about europe. one is i'd like to know if you agree with former president bill clinton who said in the past week that the europeans' policy
that you describe here today are much like those of the republicans in this country, politics of austerity that would take us in the same direction as europe, if you agree with that. the republicans for their part have said that you're simply blaming the europeans for problems that have been caused by your own policies. so i'd like you to respond to both of those and also tell us precisely how much time you personally spend on the european situation. >> any other -- any other aspects to the question? >> like four questions there. first of all, in terms of the amount of time i spend, look, i think it's fair to say that over the last two years i'm in consistent discussions with european leadership and consistent discussions with my economic team. this is one of the things that's
changed in the world economy over the last two or three decades is that this is a global economy now, and what happens anywhere in the world can have an impact here in the united states. certainly, that's true after the kind of trauma that we saw in 2008 and 2009. and, you know, if you think about the situation in europe, they're going through a lot of things that we went through back in 2009 and 2010 where we took some very decisive actions. the challenge they have is they've got 17 governments that have to coordinate, 27 if you count the entire european union, not just the eurozone. so imagine dealing with 17 congresses instead of one. that makes things more challenging. b but, you know, what we've tried to do is be constructive, to not frame this as us scolding them
or telling them what to do but to give them advice in part based on our experiences here in having stabilized the financial situation effectively. and, you know, ultimately, though, they're going to have to make a lot of these decisions. so what we can do is prod, advise, suggest, but ultimately they're going to have to make these decisions. now, in terms of characterizing the situation over there, what is absolutely true, this is true in europe and it's true here in the united states, is that we've got short-term problems and long-term problems. and the short-term problems are how do we put people back to work, how do we make the economy grow as rapidly as possible, how
do we ensure that the recovery gains momentum, because if we do those things, not only is it good for the people who find work, not only is it good for families who are able to pay the bills, but it actually is one of the most important things we can do to reduce deficits and debt. it's a lot easier to deal with deficits and debt if you're growing because you're bringing in more revenue and you're not spending as much because people don't need unemployment insurance as much, they don't need, you know, other programs that are providing support to people in need because things are going pretty good. that's true here in the united states, and that's true in europe. so the problem i think president clinton identified is that if, when an economy is still weak
and a recovery is still fragile, that you resort to a strategy of let's cut more so that you're saying government layoffs, reductions in government spending, severe cutbacks in major investments that help the economy grow over the long term, if you're doing all those things at the same time as consumers are pulling back, because they're still trying to pay off credit card debt, and there's generally weak demand in the economy as a whole, then you can get on a downward spiral where everybody's pulling back at the same time, that weakens demand and that further crimps the desire of companies to hire more people. and that's the pattern that europe is in danger of getting
into. you know, some countries in europe right now have an unemployment rate of 15%, 20%. if you are engaging in too much austerity too quickly and that unemployment rate goes up to 20% or 25%, then that actually makes it harder to then pay off your debts. and the markets, by the way, respond in -- you know, when they see this kind of downward spiral happening. they start making a calculation, well, if you're not growing at all, if you're contracting, you may end up having more trouble paying us off so we're going to charge you even more. your interest rates will go up. and it makes it that much tougher. so, you know, i think that what we want both for ourselves but what we've advised in europe, as well, is a strategy that says let's do everything we can to grow now even as we lock in